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Staff

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PATRICIA DUNN - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

BLAKE SHNIRRING  - TREASURER

PATRICIA DUNN is the author of the novel, Last Stop on the 6 (Bordighera Press) and the young adult novel, Rebels by Accident (Sourcebooks Fire).  Her writing has appeared in Salon, The Village Voice, The Nation, LA Weekly, and The Christian Science Monitor. She has also been published in the New York Times best-selling anthology, Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women (Soft Skull); and elsewhere. Dunn has served as the senior director of the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, where she holds an MFA in creative writing. She is the co-founder of The Publish and Promote Your Book Conference, and The Joe Papaleo Writers Workshop in Cetera, Italy. For more information on Patricia, please go to her website: Patriciadunnauthor.com

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MONICA WOO - OFFICE MANAGER

BLAKE SHNIRRING  - TREASURER

Monica joined us in March 2022 with extensive skills and experience in cross-functional administration, project management, financial management and contract management. Monica is also a writer and former creative nonfiction student with us, and is thrilled to be working here. She partnered with Nepali tech geeks and non-profit education organizations to offer free Artificial Intelligence curriculum to under-resourced public schools. Monica practices Zumba to free her wild side, and yoga to tame her spirit.

Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors works hard to ensure that our programs and workshops meet the needs and criteria of our students. They each come from a background that showcases their love and passion for reading, writing, and volunteering.

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ANNE LONERGAN - BOARD CHAIRMAN

Anne is a graduate of St. Lawrence University, with a B.A. in Literature. Her sales and marketing career took her from New Jersey to Connecticut, where she eventually settled back into her home town of Westport, with her husband, Lance, and their four children. Anne volunteered extensively in the Westport school system, focusing on literacy support and art education. Five years ago, she discovered the Westport gem that is the Westport Writers’ Workshop, and she began her fiction-writing career. She writes short stories, flash fiction, and essays and has been published in Brain, Child Magazine and Flash Fiction magazine.

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MICHELLE BRADLEY - TREASURER

Michelle loves words. She loves books, libraries, independent bookstores, and readings. She thinks the greatest invention of all time is the Guttenberg Printing Press.  

Michelle especially loves the Westport Writers’ Workshop. She began attending writing workshops in 2014 and joined the Board as Secretary in 2016. She served as the Executive Director for two years before moving to Chicago to join her husband in his new job. Michelle returned to Connecticut in 2021 and happily re-joined the Board.  

Prior to setting down roots in Connecticut, she and her family lived in Southeast Asia for almost a decade. In Hong Kong, Michelle wrote for several English language publications: she co-wrote and edited the revised expat guide - How To Set Up In Hong Kong; she reported for Asia Precious, a jewelry trade magazine; and she wrote articles for the American Women’s Club monthly newsletter, and edited their annual cookbook.   In Bangkok, she was Chairman of Charity for BAMBI, an expat organization, and she served as Vice President of the historic Neilson Hayes Library for four years. Before moving abroad, Michelle spent thirteen years working in Democratic politics in Richmond, Virginia and Washington, DC. Her areas of expertise are campaign management and grass roots organizing. She writes personal essays and flash, often infused with poetry and nature prose. Her poetry has been published in Brain Teen.

Michelle has two children, Jack and Elizabeth. She lives in East Norwalk and Chicago with her husband, Bill.

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LINDA WATERBURY 

Linda Perani Waterbury encourages everyone around her to write! Her belief that each person has a voice has translated into creating a new writing program for middle school girls at the Boys and Girls Club in Stamford. Educated at Skidmore College, Class of ‘80, Linda raised two daughters with her husband, Jim, while living in three foreign countries and various cities across the USA. Her sales and marketing career began in NYC with Saratoga Mineral Water. She’s worked at Lehman Brothers, Compton Advertising and The Legal Times division of Harcourt Brace. Throughout both the college years and the child-rearing years, Linda has taken on leadership roles in her local community, serving as an enthusiastic fundraiser for many organizations, including WWW, SAVE the Children, Skidmore College and Hamilton College. For many years, she has also taught Sunday school at St. Michael’s in Greenwich, CT.

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BETH CRISWELL - SECRETARY & CHAIR OF GOVERNANCE

Beth Criswell has been writing with Westport Writers’ Workshop for over five years where she has developed her craft and enjoys diving into her YA high fantasy world series.  She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and brings prior experience as a member of other local nonprofit boards and organizations, and as an attorney.  

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KATHLEEN SULLIVAN - CHAIR OF OUTREACH

Kathleen Sullivan began writing at Westport Writers Workshop five years ago. With a background in freelance journalism, she began writing creative non-fiction in a variety of classes and workshops. Most recently, Kathleen has ventured into fiction writing and the challenge of developing a more disciplined practice. She joined the board two years ago and is delighted to currently co-chair the service committee with Anne Lonergan. Kathleen has volunteered for the Wilton Library and the Wilton Public Schools. She has also contributed to Good Morning Wilton. She lives in Wilton with her husband, their three sons, and a yellow Labrador with nine lives and a death wish.

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LEILA SHIELDS

Leila has enjoyed the inspiration and instruction offered by the Westport Writers Workshop for many years, experiencing classes with various instructors and students in both memoir and fiction; she’s currently at work finishing her first manuscript. Dedicated to the arts, she serves on the board of Norwalk’s Shakespeare on the Sound. Currently a middle school Language Arts teacher at Wilton’s Montessori School, Leila was previously a writer and editor with Condé Nast Publications, specifically for Allure, Self, and Women’s Sports & Fitness Magazines. She’s a graduate of Yale University and Phillips Academy Andover, where she currently contributes as a Head Agent and member of Andover’s Alumni Council and Development Board. She lives in Westport with her husband, three children, and two dogs.

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DEVON PIKE

Devon has a deep love for storytelling, and its power to transport, inspire and create shared experiences. She has been writing with the Westport Writers Workshop since 2016. Her first published work, The Girl in the Tree, was released in Unlimited Literature magazine, Summer 2020. In addition to her writing life, Devon is a leader in the fashion and retail industry, known for transformational roles at Ralph Lauren, Juicy Couture, DeBeers Diamond Jewellers, Givenchy, Gap, and Baggallini.  Devon holds a BA in Comparative Literature from Brown University and MBA from the Harvard Business School. Tennessee born and Ohio raised, Devon Pike lives in Rowayton, Connecticut with her 9-year-old daughter Grayson and their black lab Stormy.

DEVON PIKE

DEVON PIKE

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KANWALROOP KATHY DHANDA 

Kanwalroop Kathy Dhanda is passionate about the environment and the protection of natural resources. She is a Professor of Management at Sacred Heart University and her scholarly work focuses on sustainability issues. She has published about 40 journal articles and co-authored two books.  She loves to read and travel in her free time.  Recently, with the encouragement of instructors at the Westport Writers’ Workshop, she has begun working on a memoir and short stories that she hopes to publish someday.  Kathy graduated cum laude from Angelo State University and received her doctorate degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  She lives in Wilton with her husband, Adrian, and her two children, Arman and Ariana.